The No. 7 Lady Lions (22-3, 12-1) led by as much as 33 in an absolute 95-62 rout of Illinois (15-10, 8-5) on Wednesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center. Led by junior Maggie Lucas, who had 22 points and 5 assists (pushing her past the 200 mark for career assists), the Lady Lions dominated the entire game despite a scrappy and, at times, aggressive Illinois team.
After 4 minutes of play, Penn State was down 7-5 even though three offensive fouls had already been called on Illinois. At 14:05, Penn State had tied it up and never looked back.
To push the lead to 25-13, two quick blocks from freshman Candice Agee got the crowd on their feet, and led to a break-away from Lucas who dished to senior Alex Bentley (who finished with 20 points) for a wide open lay-up.
With 6:09 left in the first half, Ariel Edwards had sunk one from the free throw line. As she lined up for her next shot, an Illinois assistant coach was called for a technical foul. Lucas was chosen to take the free throws and easily made both. Edwards finished her shot as well and gave Penn State a 37-20 lead.
Penn State hit the 50-point mark with 1:18 left in the first half. To end it, Edwards swished a far-out jumper to boost the lead to 54-33. The Lady Lions shot 59 percent for the half, and had six players with at least five points.
To begin the second half, senior Mia Nickson finished her second three-point play of the game after she was fouled on a made lay-up. Penn State, although dominating on offense, started playing sloppy themselves, resulting in turnovers and easy points for the Illini.
The fouls continued and Illinois’ Ivory Crawford fouled out after she shoved Lucas and was called for an offensive foul with 9:16 left in the game. Soon enough, Illinois’ Karisma Penn also fouled out after a 17-point effort when there was still 5:39 left in the game.
When Penn fouled out after a personal foul on sophomore Tori Waldner, Illinois’ Nia Olden was given a technical for shoving Nikki Greene to the ground. Both Waldner and Lucas went 2-for-2 from the line and gave the Lady Lions the 89-60 lead.
Waldner entered the game and dominated on defense with 4 blocks and multiple stops on defense as well as 8 rebounds.
With 3:43 left in the game, Ariel Edwards was taken out after she landed awkwardly on her ankle. There was no update on her status at press time.
The Lady Lions ended up winning going away with every player on their roster scoring. For the fifth time this season they scored more than 50 points in one half. Their next game is this Sunday against Michigan (19-6, 8-4) at 1 p.m. in the Bryce Jordan Center. It’s their last home game of the season and $3 of every ticket sold will be donated to the Lady Lions Pink Zone. Student admission is free.